Child Victim Witness Support Program
Boost’s Child Victim Witness Support Program (CVWSP) is for any child or youth who may need to testify in a criminal court proceeding. Court preparation and support is offered across the Central Region, including Barrie, Peterborough, Midland, Orillia, Bradford, Huntsville, Bracebridge, Collingwood, Lindsay, Cobourg, Brighton, and York and Durham regions when required.
It can be stressful for a young person to have to testify in court. The CVWSP helps reduce that stress (as well as the stress felt by a parent/caregiver) by explaining what to expect, and by providing help to navigate the criminal justice system.
Referrals can be made for anyone aged 3 to 17 years of age who is expected to testify in court in the Toronto or Central Region of Ontario. Referrals will be accepted from police, child protection workers, Crown Attorneys, victim witness workers, other professionals as well as families. Each of our three offices processes their own referrals.
Boost Accredited Reliable K9s (BARK) Program provides additional support to children and youth through the use of accredited facility dogs. Iggy and Jersey are specially trained and will provide comfort and support to children and youth in:
- the forensic interview;
- the medical examination;
- counselling sessions, and;
- while testifying in court.
For children/youth who have experienced abuse and/or trauma, navigating our justice system can be lengthy and very challenging. Finding innovative ways to address their needs is a necessary part of supporting children and youth. Facility dogs help to keep children and youth calm and centred throughout their testimony. They provide comfort and support during what can be a stressful and difficult experience. Children who are less anxious are more likely to provide candid and accurate testimony.